Archive for September, 2008

Singapore Liveblog

September 28, 2008

Greetings!

First, I have to apologize for a qualifying goof up…Hamilton is second on the grid, not third. Raikkonen is third.

Well, now that that’s out of the way….

We’re riding along with ITV and their thirty or so(well, actually eight or something) commentators. Should be fascinating.

START!

Hamilton gets a good start, but Raikkonen gets pretty close–Massa 1st, Hamilton 2nd, Raikkonen 3rd.

Kovalainen losing places left and right. Glock past him even–ouch.

Kovalainen repasses Glock, but Glock repasses Heikki…wow.

Lap 2: Massa in the lead by 2.8.

Alonso is ALL over in 12th behind Nakajima–he’s on soft tires and is fantastically quick.

Replay of start: Heidfeld cut the first corner, probably gained a spot, probably won’t get penalized.

Raikkonen’s already three seconds behind the Hamilton/Massa battle.

Lap 4: Massa 1.8 ahead of Hamilton and 6.2 aheead of Raikkonen. Absolutely creaming Kimi AGAIN. What on earth is wrong with Massa?

Nakajima has a MASSIVE lockup.

There are approximately ten cars stuck behind Trulli unable to get past.

One unnamed ITV guy references the “Trulli Train.” My viewing is mega enhanced.

Ferrari is sparking a lot more than the McLarens. A lot lower.

Rosberg trying Trulli everywhere.

Lap 6: Brake duct in the middle of the track between T9 and T10. Come on guys, clear that out of the way!

Commercial break. Many melting iPod Nanos are seen.

Rosberg and Nakajima have apparently gotten past Trulli. Replay of Rosberg’s pass, big lockup but he saved it. Brilliant.

Massa ran over debris SOMEWHERE…and it’s stuck on the car. OH NO HE’S GONNA BE TOAST. Or not.

Alonso passes Trulli. MEGA pass. Past way before the corner.

Now it’s Webber on Trulli.

Raikkonen now gaining on Massa/Hamilton.

Lap 9: Raikkonen sets fastest lap.

Lap 11: Raikkonen’s approximately a second a lap quicker than Hamilton and Massa ahead. And going quicker. According to ITV, the Iceman is “on fire.”

Trulli is FOUR SECONDS slower than the guys who passed him. Yikes, dude!

Hamilton is 1.5 seconds a lap quicker than his teammate Kovalainen.

Lap 12: Alonso pits. Long middle stint.

Alonso is describing his car as a “right handful.” Humor quotient of Formula One goes up by multiple hundreds of times.

Bourdais spins and recovers.

Nope–Bourdais overshoots a turn and recovers.

Rosberg being told to “push hard.” What do you think he’s doing, guys?!?!?!

Hamilton now 4.5 behind Massa.

Lap 14:

Piquet DESTROYS the car. Safety car. Came out of a corner, spun it around, and took the rear corner off the car. Fantastic looking crunch. He’s out of the car and appears fine, but the car is way toast.

Barrichello is apparently done. Helping push his car away.

MASSA IS TOAST!

He left the pitbox with the fuel hose still WAY on–hauled the entire thing down the pitlane!

Apparently Massa had a green light–he didn’t screw up, Ferrari did as a whole.

Alonso the highest placed guy who’s stopped. Whoda thunk it?

Safety car IN.

Hamilton in 8th. Massa in 18th. Possibly has fuel nozzle damage.

Rosberg and Kubica will get penalties for pitting during a closed pit lane.

Rosberg is about ten up on the entire field due to the Trulli Train behind him.

Rephrase: Trulli is running well in 3rd. Fisichella is holding up the train right now.

Lap 22: Rosberg is more than the length of the pit straight in the lead. Holy leader, batman!

Barrichello tosses his gloves into the bay!

“Luca de Montezemelo has just thrown something rather large against his television after seeing that pitstop.”

BRILLIANT QUOTE!

Lap 23: Massa gets a drive through penalty. As though he hadn’t suffered enough…

Rosberg and Kubica get ten second stop/go penalties. Rosberg may actually end up in a good spot considering his current lead.

Lap 27: Rosberg is 20 ahead of Fernando Alonso. He’ll lose about 30 in his stop/go, so he’s actually in a quite good position.

Kubica serves his penalty.
Webber goes WAY wide into T1, Hamilton gets past him.

Rosberg serves his penalty, returns in FOURTH ahead of Coulthard and Hamilton. Not too shabby at all!

Webber’s out. Don’t know why, but the engine is sounding rough. Something’s toast. Will he EVER get any luck?

Fisichella is on a one-stop, as is Trulli; both looking EXTREMELY good for some points. Wait a sec, FORCE INDIA and POINTS in the same sentence?!?!?

Kubica passes Massa. Massa is now absolutely nowhere.

Massa pits again. Three-stop or two stop?

Current order(of those fueled to the end): Alonso, Rosberg. HUH?

Lap 33: Trulli pits and returns ahead of Nakajima. Who very nearly passes Trulli into T7.

Alonso, Rosberg, Coulthard, Hamilton the current order.

Kovalainen pits.

…and the ITV stream dies.

Time to switch to SpeedTV!

Lap 36, 25 to go:

Alonso gaining on Hamilton. Pat Symonds looks bored.

Alonso gets twitchy through T2 and T3.

Nakajima passes Trulli. VERY close but he makes it stick.

Raikkonen INHALES Trulli. Not even tough.

Lap 40: Nico Rosberg stops. Final stop.

Tires out for Alonso.

ALONSO PITS.

Alonso returns ahead of Hamilton and Coulthard. Hamilton passes Coulthard–great pass!

Coulthard’s lollipop dude lets Coulthard go with the fuel hose still attached–he stopped quickly enough that he may be in a decent position.

Vettel pits from 3rd.

Rosberg appears to be in a pretty solid podium position. Nice job!

Lap 44: Hamilton seven seconds behind Raikkonen. Hamilton 5th, Kimi 4th.

Massa goes WAY wide past T2.

Commercial: Ryan Newman lovefest.

Coulthard radios in that he has brake problems. Oh my.

Sebastian Vettel has been unmentioned through the entire race, but is now seventh. Can this kid have a bad race lately?

Lap 49: Alonso is 17 ahead of Rosberg(and 1.2sec quicker a lap), while Raikkonen is RIGHT behind Rosberg but has to pit again.

TRULLI slow–don’t know why. Something happened, probably. He’s moving but not fast.

Raikkonen out of the pits in fifth. Vettel currently in sixth right behind.

OH MY, Sutil crashes!

Safety car time!

Massa was involved in Sutil’s crash. Trulli finally returns to the pits and goes straight in.

…Massa first spun, and then Sutil crashed later?

WHOA, Sutil hit about 1/4 second after Massa moved out of the way. Scary.

ANNOYING commercial. Argh.

SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP.

9 to go.

Hamilton gets WAYYYYY sideways. Fantastic stuff.

Alonso 3.7 ahead of Rosberg after a SINGLE LAP?!?!?!?

Alonso six seconds ahead after two laps. And quickest in Sector 3…

Commercial break!

Hamilton is .7 behind Rosberg but doesn’t look like getting past.

4 to go. Raikkonen chasing Glock. RAIKKONEN WRECKS IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

He bounced too far over the Turn 10 kerbs and just went straight in. He’s out of the car.

No safety car. Thank god.

Vettel in 5th!

Three to go. Alonso 4.7 in the lead, Rosberg 2 seconds ahead of Hamilton.

One to go! Crowd goes berserk.

ALONSO WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rosberg 2nd, Hamilton 3rd, Glock 4th, Vettel 5th, Heidfeld 6th, Coulthard 7th, Nakajima 8th, Button 9th, Kovalainen 10th.

Bourdais 12th — decent!

Massa 13th, Fisichella 14th. Alonso screaming over radio.
“Well done mate, that was BRILLIANT!”

Well, this leaves Hamilton in the points lead with a margin of seven. He’s got a good shot at the win.

We’ll return in two weeks with the Japanese Grand Prix from Fuji!

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Singapore Quali Liveblog

September 27, 2008

Hello guys!

Starting about eight minutes in due to my internet connection dying right at the start.

Currently Vettel, Kovalainen, Glock, Massa.

Hamilton goes P1.

Alonso quickest in S1.  Been quick all weekend.  Is this his chance?

9:40 to go.

Kovalainen on harder tire, Hamilton on softer.

Alonso to P2 – 4 tenths slower than in practice, probably going to get a LOT quicker.

Glock goes in circles.

Fisichella’s car is still trashed after a practice crash.  He probably won’t get out in quali.  AWWWW….he’d be 20th anyway.

Barrichello looks actually pretty good.  For a Honda, that is.

Heidfeld is going into the pits as Barrichello comes around–Barrichello has to slam on the brakes.  Yowza!

Kovalainen on the ABSOLUTE limit–slightly twitchy but just LOOKS fast.  Goes P1 by two tenths or so.

Raikkonen in 16th–do or die lap.

…Fisichella gets out, and crashes at the same spot he crashed in practice.  Whooooooops?

Raikkonen goes P1.

Massa to P4.

Shot of David Coulthard’s girlfriend.  My viewing is INCREDIBLY enhanced.

Alonso spun somewhere–don’t know when or where.

Out:

Piquet(he can be awesome one race, but completely screw up the next one.  NEXT PLEASE!)

Bourdais

Barichello

Sutil

Fisichella

On to Q2!

Kovalainen drifting around.  Cool.

ALONSO PARKS IT!

What happened there?

Vettel out – looking good.

Apparently Renault told Alonso to pull over–no reason given.

Massa, Raikkonen, Vettel at the moment.  Vettel using every inch of the track, quite impressive.

Kubica to P4.

Heidfeld to P5.  Not bad for the “slower” BMW.

Kovalainen to P2.  ABSOLUTELY on the limit–bouncing, drifting, sliding.

Hamilton to only P8.  VERY uncomfortable looking.  Yikes!  All over the track.

Q2 ENDED.

Trulli to NINTH.

Glock to FIFTH.

Button to ELEVENTH.  Good drive for a Honda!

Nakajima to TENTH.

Webber THIRTEENTH.

Hamilton tenth.  Rather close to not making it through Q2…

Q2:  Massa, Kovalainen, Raikkonen, Vettel.

ELIMINATED:

11. Trulli

12. Button

13. Webber

14.  Coulthard

15.  Alonso

Q3:

Vettel first out.  He’s apparently had a high school temporarily named after him.  Wow?

Raikkonen VERY twitchy in the last turn.

Currently:  Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel.

3:30 to go.  Hamilton back onto super-soft tires.

Raikkonen sideways in T1, catches it and continues.

Final qualifying(had several glitches in Q3, couldn’t tell what happened):

Massa, Raikkonen, Hamilton

You can’t put a price on Vettel

September 20, 2008

After his outstanding performance in last weekends’ Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Sebastian Vettel has been reportedly been put up for sale by Bernie Ecclestone for the “top-teams”.

BUT, before you jump to any conclusions that he’s headed to Ferrari and that the Schumacher era will return Dietrich Mateschitz, owner of both Red Bull Racing and the Scuderia Toro Rosso team (as well as the Red Bull energy drink) had this to say:

“Sebastian has a contract with us,” the Austrian, who is also a billionaire, told the German newspaper Bild. “He is not for sale. With him, we want to attack the top teams and move to the top.”

Thanks to speedtv.com for the heads up!

Reflections

September 17, 2008

Comparing tire paint, the tire on the left has the reflective paint, while the tire on the right has the standard paint.

Bridgestone announced today that they would use a special paint on the striping of the option compound and extreme wet tires at the upcoming GP in Singapore next weekend.

“We are using a special paint for Singapore,” explains Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone’s director of motorsport tyre development. “We don’t believe this will make any difference to the racing, but for the spectators and the media it should make it a little easier to tell which of our tyres are being used.”

Singapore will be the 2nd venue this season to host their first ever GP weekend. (Valencia was the other, and they’re both street courses)

“There are different factors we look at when deciding tyre allocation and in particular we look at the track layout, the track surface and the temperatures we are likely to encounter,” says Hamashima. “In advance of a race at a new destination we send out a team of engineers to laser scan the surface. Scans are taken all the way around a lap and this information is then analysed to give us a good idea of how the track surface should react with our tyres.”

“Where there have been race meetings before at a facility, we can get an idea of how tyres react with the circuit, even if Bridgestone tyres were not used at the race,” says Hamashima. “Before the European Grand Prix in Valencia there was a race meeting, so we could form a general picture of racing there, but in Singapore it will be all-new for everyone, so this could be an additional challenge.” “We have looked at many different aspects regarding a race taking place at night and we have no specific concerns, Bridgestone have good experience in endurance motor races which run at night so this has been useful.

“The temperatures will be cooler than during the day and there will be no heat generated from the sun’s radiation, but we predict an ambient and track temperature of around 27 degrees Celsius, which is warmer than some tracks we visit during the day. Ultimately, the way the tyre works at night will be the same as it works during the day.”

“A lot of work takes place after the sessions so we will be working very late, and this will be an exciting aspect of the weekend,” says Hamashima. “Because of this we will be starting our days a lot later than we would usually, so it will be the first time we have had official lie-ins on a Formula One weekend!”

Don’t forget, the Inagural Singapore Grand Prix is next weekend (September 26-28)!

Monza Liveblog

September 14, 2008

Greetings!  Welcome to Monza.   We’re riding with ITV and their numerous unnamed commentators.  I may go offline unexpectedly, we’ve got huge rain here

Lap 1:  Race is starting under safety car.  SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS stalls on the grid from fourth…..

It appears Bourdais can start again, but he has some pretty serious hydraulic problems.

Lap 2:  Safety car IN this lap.  Vettel will lead away.

Lap 3:  Kovalainen WAY behind Vettel.  No drama yet into the first chicane.

Raikkonen to 13th, Hamilton to 14th.

Webber keeping up in third, Timo Glock past Alonso into 7th.

Lap 4:  Vettel two seconds in the lead.  Alonso repasses Glock into T1.

Coulthard passes Fisichella to go into 11th.  Hamilton went past Raikkonen but shortcutted a chicane….

Lap 5:  Commercial break.   Eew.

Lap 7:  Return to Monza.  Glock spins.  Vettel is SIX seconds in the lead.  Hamilton is slowish behind Raikkonen.  Momentary complaining about it by the ITV guys.

Hamilton tries to go inside Kimi.  Kimi closes door.  End of story.  Hamilton in 13th, Raikkonen in 12th, Fisichella in 11th.

Lap 8:  Raikkonen uberpasses Fisichella.  Vettel sets fastest lap.

Lap 9:  “Let’s get a Massa update”

Hamilton on Fisichella’s tail.  Gets in the slipstream…blows straight past.  Fisichella attempts to block, but no go.

Lap 10:  Hamilton past Raikkonen!

Lap 11:  Massa says that full wets are wearing out too quickly.  Intermediates will soon be needed.

Lap 14:  Hamilton passes Heidfeld.  Massa passes Rosberg.  Fisichella whacks his front wing off on Coulthard and goes STRAIGHT into the wall.

Lap 15:  Vettel ten seconds ahead.  Hamilton up to 9th and pushing Kubica for eighth.

Hamilton FLIES by Kubica.

Heavy rain on the way…..whoa.

Lap 17:  Piquet in 14th?!?!?!  VETTEL PITS.

ALONSO PASSES ALONSO.  Alonso tried to block, almost hit him, and then Alonso tried to come back in the chicane.  Hamilton will not be resisted.

Lap 19:  Kovalainen, Webber, Massa, Vettel.  Raikkonen making zero progress.

Lap 20:  Glock passes Alonso.  Good clean pass.  Alonso “reversing down the field.”

Hamilton right behind Trulli.

Passes into T1, goes wide….lets Trulli back past….

Lap 23.  Kovalainen pits.  Webber pits.  Vettel leads again.

Commercial break.

Dumb Renault Koleos commercial.  I laugh.

Lap 25.  Hamilton went straight around Rosberg.  No fight from Nico.  Glock pits.

Hamilton is “coming alive.”  I HATE ITV.

Trulli pits.  Raikkonen pits from 10th.

Hamilton only a second behind Vettel!

26 to go.  HAMILTON PITS.

Lap 28.  Hamilton in 10th ahead of Massa.

Rosberg pits.  Kovalainen back to 2nd.

Rosberg qualified fifth with a one-stop fuel load–I’m impressed.  Slight goof-up in the pits, but he makes it out.  Coulthard pits.

Coulthard on inters!  Will have to see how he does.

Coulthard goes straight on at the chicane.  Obviously a tad slippery on inters.

Vettel is 12.5 ahead of Kovalainen.  Oh my.

Lap 30:  Alonso pits.

Alonso takes inters!

Raikkonen passes Trulli.

Glock gets passed by Raikkonen.

Lap 32 – Commercial break.  Annoying.

Lap 34:  Massa pits.  INTERS.

Rosberg pits for inters.

Kovalainen pits.  Probably will get inters.  Yeah.

Webber pits for inters.

Massa gets a tad twitchy out of the Ascari chicane on his inters.

Trulli passes Kubica.  Mega.

Massa passes WEBBER….Whoa.

WEBBER SPINS.  Ouch.

Kimi pits for intermediates.

Lap 35:  VETTEL PITS.  “Has to go for the intermediate tire.”

Piquet still hasn’t stopped.  Holy cow.  Vettel comes out a straight ahead of Hamilton, who pits for inters!

Hamilton right behind Massa!

Hamilton passes Webber.  Massa is next on his “hit list”…

Piquet and Button whack each other, though they’re still continuing.

Lap 37:  Vettel is sixteen laps from a win.  This could be absolutely mega.

Lap 39:  Massa passes Heidfeld by cutting a chicane.  Heidfeld goes back past.

Lap 41:  Vettel eleven seconds ahead of Kovalainen.

Lap 43:  Button and Coulthard “having a good old ding dong on the racetrack.”  ITV is amazingly dumb.

Piquet goes off-road.  SERIOUS off-road.

Lap 48:  Hamilton and Webber bounce off each other.  Webber may pass Hamilton for 7th!

Glock passes Coulthard.

Nakajima/Coulthard whack off each other at the Parabolica, damage on Coulthard, who pits.

Lap 53:  VETTEL WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!  He’s hugging his helmet…is probably undergoing shock.  Kovalainen 2nd, Kubica 3rd, Alonso 4th, Heidfeld, Massa, Hamilton, Webber, Raikkonen.

Vettel “does not know what to say” according to his radio transmission.

Ok, to wrap up:

Vettel was simply brilliant.  Quick in the wet beyond belief, definitely deserves this win.  I will see you in Singapore in two weeks for another liveblog!

Monza Quali somewhat live-blog

September 13, 2008

Today I’ll be doing the qualifying live blog for Monza as Robbie (who we know and love as f1ronspeak, the founder & owner) had go take some tests today. (ACT or something) The TV is set to SPEED, I have a cup of Joe (hey, it’s only 4:50 here on the left coast) and I’m all ready to go. 🙂

Pre-Quali Notes:

  • Rain is in the forecast, as it will be all weekend. Things will surely get interesting.
  • Kimi Raikkonen was quoted this week, saying that “We’ll give it all to win, for the team and to the fans”. After another bad result last weekend at Spa. Ferrari needs to get a good result in front of the home fans after that whipping McLaren put on them here last year.

With that, SPEED’s opening sequence for their F1 coverage starts…

Q1:

20:00 – Showing highlights of the Hamilton/Raikkonen battle last weekend. Bobby Varsha is recapping the post race events for those of us living under rocks.

20:00 – Rain!! Even though it’s a sprinkle right now the track is still soaked from the rain overnight and in the morning practice. A wet Monza is an exciting Monza!

20:00 – Interview with Sebastien Bourdais on how to take the kebrs at Monza. Isn’t SeaBass still a rookie? Even though he’s won the last 4 champ car titles and has never raced at Monza before. Interesting

20:00 – What the hell is a “mutter” or a “mudda”? And it wasn’t used in a ghetto fashion like “muddaf**ka” either.

20:00 – Commercials, Q1 should begin after the break…

20:00 – It’s green! Quite a few takers including both Force India Cars, Trulli, both BMW’s, and Massa. Kovalainen joins the fun as we’re on board with Massa as he nearly runs up the ass end of one of the STR cars.

17:52 – One of the BMW’s spin, it looks to be Heidfeld

17:15 – All cars are on track, isn’t this Q1?

16:45 – On board with Raikkonen battling with a HONDA and LOSING!

15:25 – By the way, for whatever reason my TV decides to hid the fastest driver and the timer all the way at the top of the screen, I’m using the timer on my cell phone to get somewhat close with the reamining time in each session.

14:41 – Stevie Matchett rants about how crashing the car will end your qualifying session.

13:38 – Raikkonen is 20th?!?!?!?!?

13:14 – Glock is fastest, Trulli not far behind in 3rd, maybe some of Toyota’s NASCAR success is starting to transfer to their F1 program.

12:15 – Raikkonen moves to 9th, the Iceman had me worried for a minute or so.

10:47 – Kovalainen is on a hot lap, moves to first.

10:10 – Commercials…

10:10 – Formula BMW update time – Alexander Rossi (any relation to Valentino?) swept the races at Mid-Ohio

10:10 – Ferrari challenge video game promo, the game looks freakin’ sweet.

9:35 – Back to live coverage, on board with the man of the hour (or week), Lewis Hamilton.

7:55 – Replay of the Hamster going over the kerbs. Hopefully the FIA doesn’t give him another 25 second penalty.

4:45 – Most of the field coming in for a new set of wet tires. Do I see Reanault mechanics in the background pushing Piquet’s car into the garage?

2:55 – A noticeable dry line is starting to form around the track, but it’s still too wet for inters, all cars on track.

0:00 – Checkers are out, back markers are scrambling to get into Q2, Coulthard is in, Alonso bumps his teammate Piquet, Giancarlo moves to 12th, Rubens is out. Replay of Nakajima cutting the chicane, hopefully Kazoo doesn’t get a 25 second penalty (not that it mattters, he too is eliminated).

0:00 – With that, Q1 is over, results below…

Standings after Q1:

  1. Kovalainen
  2. Hamilton
  3. Vettel
  4. Rosberg
  5. Massa
  6. Bourdais
  7. Kubica
  8. Heidfeld
  9. Glock
  10. Trulli
  11. Raikkonen
  12. Webber
  13. Fisichella
  14. Alonso
  15. Coulthard
  16. Barrichello
  17. Piquet Jr.
  18. Nakajima
  19. Button
  20. Sutil

drivers eliminated

Q2:

15:00 – It’s green!!

13:20 – Hobbs quoting Alonso, who said that somebody, maybe him would run on inters in Q2.

12:25 – Kubica sliding, his new name is supposedly Roberto. (courtesty of Polish TV reporters)

11:15 – McLaren mechanics have a set of inters ready in the pits, looks like Alonso has a career in future telling if the racing deal doesn’t work out.

10:55 – Kovalainen fastest again.

10:06 – Seabass to 3rd, but his future with STR is still uncertain.

9:32 – Rosberg to P3.

9:21 – Raikkonen  goes wiiiiiiiddddeeeee, much like he did in Spa.

8:54 – Hamilton reportedly made a 1 lap run on inters, but he immediately came back in for wets. So much for Alonso’s prediction.

8:45 – Commercials…

8:41 – 14 of the 15 cars on track, Webber is in the pits, just because he’s a member of the GPDA doesn’t mean he can skip Q2!

7:30-6:20 – SPEED commentators agreeing that Ronny Dennis and Hamilton missed their golder opportunity ro run on inters. Obvious look of disgust on Dennis’ face.

3:40 – Raikkonen and Hamilton are 14th and 15th! We see why Hamster’s is 15th after a 360° spin.

2:45 – Lots of standing water and spray.

0:00 – Checkers are out! Hamilton is off the pace by 4 seconds! He won’t go to Q3!

0:00 – Kubica spins off of Ascari, he too won’t go to Q3!

0:00 – Raikkonen won’t be in Q3 either, joining Hamilton, Kubica, Fisi and DC.

Standings after Q2:

  1. Vettel
  2. Kovalainen
  3. Rosberg
  4. Trulli
  5. Bourdais
  6. Webber
  7. Alonso
  8. Glock
  9. Heidfeld
  10. Massa
  11. Kubica
  12. Fisichella
  13. Coulthard
  14. Raikkonen
  15. Hamilton

drivers eliminated

Q3:

10:00 – It’s green!! Massa leads out of the pits, it’s absolutely pouring out there!

9:02 – Massa and Bourdais slip-sliding around.

7:35 – Ferrari’s hopes at Monza and the championship lie with Massa.

6:17 – Bourdais fastest! Out of 3 cars.

5:50 – 8 cars have posted times, now 9 with Webber’s 3rd place lap

5:06 – Replay of Glock locking up.

4:50 – All cars on track, all cars have posted a time.

4:00 – Vettel is now fastest, Bourdais 3rd, both Ferrari powered STR cars ahead of Massa in the sole remaining works car.

2:48 – Rosberg to 3rd, Bourdais and Vettel still ahead of Massa.

2:13 – On board with Rosberg eating the kerbing, hopefully he doesn’t get a 25 second penalty.

1:42 – Bourdais does a 540° spin in Ascari, David Hobbs gives him a 9.9, he lost 0.1 for the landing.

0:40 – Drivers scrambling to get their last laps in.

0:00 – Checkers are out!

0:00 – Massa 6th, no pole for the red cars.

0:00 – STR mechanics wait for Kovalainen to finish his hotlap, Vettel is still 1st.

0:00 – Kovalainen crosses 2nd, Vettel gets the pole, and the mechanics go WIIIILLLLLD as they deserve to. Bravo!

0:00 – Radio transmission between a calm STR mechanic and an elated Sebastian Vettel. Vettel becomes youngest pole winner at 21 years and 73 days of age.

Final Qualifying Standings:

  1. Vettel
  2. Kovalainen
  3. Webber
  4. Bourdais
  5. Rosberg
  6. Massa
  7. Trulli
  8. Alonso
  9. Glock
  10. Heidfeld
  11. Kubica
  12. Fisichella
  13. Coulthard
  14. Raikkonen
  15. Hamilton
  16. Barrichello
  17. Piquet Jr.
  18. Nakajima
  19. Button
  20. Sutil

Post Quali Interviews:

Vettel 1 – He’s still in disbelief, he told us how he was joking when he told his engineers that if it was going to be wet, he would go for pole. He said there was alot of water, he was aquaplaning and nearly lost the car on numerous occasions. He didn’t feel very comfortable in the wet practice on Friday, the team made a bunch of changes on the car overnight. He also said it was difficult running with all the traffic, especially in Q1, but applauded all the driver for giving each other room and making it safe. He did the best he could, more or less in Q2.

Kovalainen – He said he was pretty close with Vetetl, the 1st lap wasn’t as good. He thinks he’s in a good position for the race, which he said would be good and competitive. He didn’t quite know what went wrong with Hamilton and the intermediate tires.

Webber – Congratulated STR & Vettel with a look of dissappointment on his face. He said his last lap in Q3 in the wet was his best, he wanted to get through both chicanes and Ascari perfectly because of all the standing water.

Vettel 2 – He’s still speechless, it’ll take time for it to sink in for him. Keeps mentioning how fantastic and incredible the moment is.

Th-th-th-That’s all folks! For qualifying at least, check back tomorrow for a live blog of the Santander Italian Grand Prix at Monza!

Marky-Mark clears up chicane controversy

September 12, 2008

Marky-Mark Webber, driver of the 10 car for Red Bull Racing, and member of the GPDA cleared up the chicane cutting rule this week (along with the FIA).

Interview courtesy of autosport.com:

Following the incident that saw Lewis Hamilton given a 25 second penalty for crossing a chicane and gaining an advantage, clarification has been communicated to the drivers with regard to future conduct.

It is understood that the FIA have told drivers to wait at least one corner, after ‘handing back’ an advantage, in order to be certain that claims of unfair advantage can be fairly refuted.

Hamilton dropped behind Raikkonen after overtaking him on the grass in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa last weekend, only to dive past him at the following corner.

McLaren are appealing the penalty on the grounds that in ceding the position Hamilton had given up any advantage gained.

Mark Webber, Red Bull driver and GPDA director, said the decision was welcome and cleared up a point that was previously unclear. Speaking to Autosport.com, the Australian said:

“We are still trying to find a solution for the second chicane here, because we still think there is a way to roll through there,” Webber told autosport.com. “But generally, it is pretty clear for people to probably not attack immediately again, which wasn’t mega, mega clear in the past.”

Felipe & Kimi/Kimi & Felipe show to continue

September 12, 2008

According to the fine folks at SPEEDtv.com, Kimi Raikkonen has agreed to stay with Ferrari through the 2010 season, as well as Felipe Massa. This announcement comes after a recent string of bad results (not races) by the Iceman, and considering how he failed to capitalize on the Hamster’s penalty last weekend at Spa, it looked as if Massa (who has been on a hot streak) would be promoted to #1 driver. But things look as if Riakkonen will stay as the #1 driver.

Article from speed:

Ferrari has announced that Kimi Raikkonen has extended his contract until the end of 2010. The Finn’s current deal had only one more year to run on it, so the new arrangement puts him in line with Felipe Massa, who was already signed up for two more years.

The statement was clearly to put an end to speculation about Kimi’s future and try to create some stability in the camp. It noted: “…the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver lineup remains unchanged for the next two coming seasons.”

The news also put a stop to speculation about Fernando Alonso heading to the Scuderia by 2010 at the latest, as had been widely speculated.

In recent days the Spaniard has been increasingly associated with a three-year deal at BMW. It remains to be seen whether he is
pursuing that route because the Ferrari door has closed, or whether Ferrari was encouraged to confirm its grip on Kimi as Alonso began to seriously explore the BMW option.

If Alonso does go to BMW there is no guarantee that it will be Nick Heidfeld rather than Robert Kubica who will go. There are suggestions that Kubica might be on the way out – and his logical direction could be Renault, where he could be a clear number one.

Kubica was a Renault young driver a few years ago, and Flavio Briatore counts dropping him as one of his greatest mistakes…

FIA – What does it REALLY stand for?

September 7, 2008

According to their website, the FIA stands for Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, but from the events I saw today, it appears to me that it should stand for Ferrari Interests Association as they showed a total bias towards drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen.

In the closing laps of today’s Belgian Grand Prix, it started to rain when McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen were in a battle for the lead. The rain really started to fall heavily in the 2nd and 3rd sectors of the course, and neither driver was going to give up their track position to get wet tires and they both stayed out.

Then things started getting interesting, as all the cars in the rear are sliding around it really caused the field to bunch up and Raikkonnen and Hamilton both run wide and somehow manage to gather it back up. BUT, going into the last chicane that leads on to the front stretch, Hamilton got very, very loose on braking, over shot the chicane and inadvertenly passed Raikkonen in the process. Hamilton, whose teammate Heikki Kovalainen was given a drive through penalty for causing an avoidable accident with Mark Webber and Hamilton didn’t want to suffer the same fate and gave back the position to Kimi and then repassed him going into the La Source hairpin.

Then Raikkonen, pushing his Ferrari to the limits pushed it a little to much, and in nearly the same spot that Hamilton cut the chicane, Raikkonen’s Ferrari swapped ends and crashed into the tire barrier, ending his race, and most likely his chances to repeat as World Champion. And Hamilton, with such a big lead knew that he would win provided his car didn’t do the same as Raikkonen’s, and he did just that.

But, there was an unexpeceted turn of events, shorty after the race, the FIA filed this report stating that Hamilton would be penalized 25 seconds for cutting that chicane and accidentally passing Raikkonen, even though he had given back the position to Kimi. This would in-turn demote Hamilton to 3rd on the podium and would give Felipe Massa his 5th win of the year. Hamilton’s lead in the drivers points would be cut from 6 points to only 2.

What I don’t understand is why would the FIA penalize Hamilton even though he did what he was supposed to do to avoid disqualification? The FIA has been under constant fire, especially recently showing a blatant bias towards Ferrari. Remember the Stepneygate scandal last year involving former Ferrari mechanic Nigel Stepney and the McLaren team? Well, reportedly the data wasn’t stolen from Ferrari, it was actually given voluntarily to McLaren engineer Mike Coughlin. And whether or not McLaren ever used that data will never be known, but apparently the FIA saw that McLaren gained an ‘unfair’ advantage by having the data in their possession. McLaren were fined $100 million, and had all of their 2007 constructors points stripped.

Anyway, back to this matter, according to the rulebook, it states absolutely NOTHING about a driver cutting a chicane, the only way a driver could get penalized would be (these come straight from the rule book, viewable to anyone on the F1 website) to cause a false start by one or more cars (whatever that means), cause a collision, force a driver off the track, illegitimately prevented a legitimate overtaking manoeuvre by a driver. or by illegitimately impeding another driver during overtaking.

Now, if you watched the race you saw that Raikkonen was blocking Hamilton a ton down the straightaways, which according to the rules I posted above would mean that Raikkonen prevented Lewis from making a legitimate overtaking maneuvre and may have caused a collison. That means that Raikkonen, not Lewis should’ve been penalized 25 seconds for violating section 16 of the FIA rules.

As usual, McLaren gets all the heat while Ferrari gets away with murder yet again, another example of the Ferrari Interest Association showing their Italian friends bias.

Disgusting, absolutely disgusting.

Belgian GP Liveblog

September 7, 2008

Greetings! We’re riding today with SpeedTV and Bob Varsha, David Hobbs, Peter Windsor(pit lane reporter) and Steve Matchett.  Less commentator hate today because the Speed guys are actually pretty good at what they do.

Should be a good race – Sebastien Bourdais in 8th!

Parade lap begins.  Everybody’s on the softer tires.  Oh joy.

Wet track – dry tires!!!!!

Everybody lines up on the grid.

GOOOO!!!!

Hamilton takes off.  Massa second, Raikkonen around the outside…lots of contact in the back, not sure who.

Alonso to P4….Toro Rosso in P5, no idea who.

Piquet in 7th?!?!?!

Trulli spins at the chicane and drives STRAIGHT into traffic!  Lucky as all get out to make it away without being T-boned.

RAIKKONEN ON HAMILTON’S TAIL!!!!  AND PASSES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lap 2: Raikkonen, Hamilton, Massa, Alonso, Bourdais, Webber, Piquet.

HAMILTON SPUN?  And still only lost only a single place to Raikkonen.  Impressive.

Coulthard goes grass mowing.

Sunshine!

Alonso just set fastest lap.  My viewing is enhanced.

Bourdais apparently got into Trulli at the start–but he’s still cruising along at normal speed.  No major car damage, then.

Kovalainen in 9th after the start….wow.

Heikki’s eating Piquet.  Passes him in Blanchimont at 190mph…..OMG.

Heidfeld wants Piquet’s points.  Up on his tail.

Correction- Heidfeld is 10th, Piquet 9th.

Heidfeld can’t do it into the chicane.

Lap 5 – Raikkonen/HTS are WAY ahead of everybody.

Kovalainen behind Kubica.

Some parts on Massa’s engine have been changed.  My viewing is FURTHER enhanced.

Vettel passes Piquet at the chicane.

Bourdais is STILL in 5th.  This won’t hurt his chances next year at all.

Kovalainen past Kubica!

Sutil mows the lawn.  And then goes into the gravel trap.  Impressive.

Lap 9.  Commercial break.

Lap 11.  HAMILTON PITS!

Back out behind Bourdais, Kubica, Kovalainen.

DRIVE THROUGH PENALTY FOR KOVALAINEN.  Stewards only penalize McLarens evidently.

Raikkonen in.  Hamilton needs one heck of an out lap.

Raikkonen out WAY in the lead.

Webber spun by Kovalainen.  Pits a lap later from P10.

Hamilton in P4.  Bad luck, but there’s still 30 laps to go.

Piquet just smashed the snot out of his rear end.  No idea where, but he’s done.  Missing his FRONT wing too…makes me wonder what exactly happened.

Piquet braked, spun, went in forward, bounced around and went in backward.  Highly amusing.

Bourdais in second with a stop coming up.  This is quite impressive.

Bourdais pits.

Out ahead of Kubica.  This could be bad, but Bourdais appears to actually be pulling away.

Kovalainen in 14th after drive-through.  Not a good day for this specific Finn…at least his country has SOMEBODY to cheer about 😛

Vettel pits from 4th.

Kubica BLOWS past Glock into Les Combes.

Bourdais still in 5th, Vettel sets fourth fastest lap.

Barrichello retires for unknown reasons.

Raikkonen now six seconds clear of Hamilton.  Argh.

Rain supposedly predicted.  OH YEAH.

Obligatory SpeedTV NASCAR commercial.  Come on dudes, I hate NASCAR….

Vettel is seventh, Heidfeld in 8th not far behind.

Raikkonen a second slower than Hamilton…AND HE PITS.

McLaren ready for Lewis.  Who pits.

Rosberg pits.  He’s so far back that I don’t know why they bother with him anymore.

Massa leads but will probably pit soon.

RAIN EXPECTED IN TWENTY MINUTES!

Serious clouds.  Rain possible much sooner than 20 minutes.

Kovalainen on Webber’s tail.

Hamilton gaining on Raikkonen.

Heikki passes Webber for 10th.  Grrrrrrrrreat.

Bourdais will pit in three laps.  Kubica will pit in four laps.  Ooooh!  My viewing has been eternally enhanced!

Hamilton onboard through Eau Rouge.  Eau Rouge should be a mandatory corner for all new racetracks, it is simply fantastic.

David Hobbs: “On board with Lewis…erm…Felipe Massa.”  Hmm, you think Dave?

Bourdais PITS.

Alonso in 6th.  No idea where he’s been all race–first mention of him in about thirty laps.

12 to go.

Kubica should be in this lap.

Kubica pits.

Kubica has FUEL PROBLEMS.  Bourdais’s 5th is safe!

Kubica out in 8th.

Kubica post overload hopefully complete.

Bourdais 5th – Vettel 6th.  Not bad for Minardi.

Phil Hill tribute.  Great driver, great guy – sad to see him gone.

Hamilton gaining slightly on Kimi.  FINALLY.

Massa gaining on Hamilton.  NOOOOOOOO.

More clouds?

Seven laps to go.

Alonso says there’s some water on the track.  WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAA.

Commercial break – last before the end.

Hamilton CLOSE to Kimi.

Ferrari guys are hilariously worried looking.

Hamilton gets relatively sideways and loses a bit of ground.  Ferrari guys looking a tad happier.  RAINING.

Water at the hairpin!  This could be unbelievably cool.

HAMILTON PASSES AT LA SOURCEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Raikkonen off at Pouhon, gets back on, GET INTO ROSBERG, HAMILTON GOES OFF, AND THEN RAIKKONEN SPINS!

OMG, this race has just gone insane.

RAIKKONEN CRASHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HAMILTON STAYS OUT ON DRIES!

This is going to be the most awesome final lap I’ve ever seen.  Hamilton is slow but steady.  Crowd going NUTS.

Anthony Hamilton’s expression closely resembles Kimi’s normal expression.
BOURDAIS TO THIRD!!!!!!!

Hamilton through Blanchimont….

Bourdais 7th.  Heidfeld third….insane last lap from Heidfeld.

Alonso 4th.  No idea what happened with all of that…too much going on.

Massa looks annoyed, Hamilton is hugging the camera.

Raikkonen looks like he’s going to murder somebody.

Replay of Raikkonen spinning the first time, and then he spun again.

Cursing over radio from Raikkonen as he backs into the wall…

Vettel 5th, Kubica 6th, Bourdais 7th.  No idea about the rest of the field, it’s too confusing…

Wow, crazy race.  I’ll see you again at Monza in a week!